The 2011 World Nuclear University Summer Institute took place in July and August this year. Rather than report on the event ourselves, we've asked one of the delegates, Jay Disser from Brookhaven National Laboratory to write up their reflections.
"The seventh annual World Nuclear University Summer Institute was held this year at Christ Church at the University of Oxford in the UK. This course was a six week long intensive leadership development program held by the World Nuclear Association. I was fortunate to attend this year’s curriculum through a grant from the Next Generation Safeguards Initiative (NGSI). The institute hosted 78 young professionals, representing a broad range of nuclear careers, from 34 countries. We attended lectures on nuclear topics, heard invited speakers discuss leadership, and participated in dynamic panel discussions with world leaders in the nuclear industry. Not only was this a challenging academic program, but it was also an amazing opportunity to meet and network with peers and leaders from across the industry and throughout the world.
The first two weeks covered the nuclear industry’s role in the global setting, and fuel cycles ranging from mining to the next generation of reactors to decommissioning and transportation. The final three weeks covered non-proliferation and safety, communications, economics, law, and knowledge management. During the third week we had the opportunity to visit an operating Advanced Graphite Reactor, a fuel fabrication facility, and a research centre. During these tours and associated lectures we were able to split up into groups to discuss and come up with questions to probe further into the depth of the issues. During, the last week we split into groups to deliver 20 minute presentations on issues in nuclear power. Some of the topics covered were the public’s fear of nuclear power, reprocessing, and expanding the use of nuclear power.
The most rewarding part for me was the friendships and bonds that were formed with the other fellows throughout the Summer Institute. Opportunities to get to know the other fellows in the University were made possible through the group work and academic discussions of the course. In addition the extra-curricular activities that were set up for us, and the fact that all us were away from home and away from the normalcy of our work and professional lives allowed us to interact in a unique way. We learned a lot at the Institute about nuclear power. What enriched the program even more was that we also learned a lot about each other, our different cultures, backgrounds, and fields. I don’t know if I’ll ever again enjoy dinner with ten colleagues from ten different countries, but I know I will always remember the experiences I had at the World Nuclear University Summer Institute 2011."